LOS ANGELES, Nov. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Infinite Flow, a nonprofit and America's first professional wheelchair ballroom dance company, performed a massive flash mob at 4:30pm on Sunday November 13, 2016 at the Venice Beach Boardwalk.
Approximately 100 dancers of all ages and ethnicities — with half being wheelchair and powerchair users, as well as some who are deaf, blind, and those with intellectual disabilities, members who identify as LGBTQ, and two special needs dogs (a wheelchair dog named Bubbles and a dog with a missing limb) — came together to celebrate, honor and bring awareness to the importance of inclusion, diversity and accessibility by dancing together in a one-of-a-kind #InfiniteInclusion flash mob.
The flash mob opened with all dancers posing for the #MannequinChallenge in silence, and then transitioned to dancing to Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling." The choreography uniquely fused ballroom dancing, hip-hop, and sign language, letting dancers with and without disabilities dance as equals.
Here is the official video of the #InfiniteInclusion flash mob:
In the climate of much division and tension following the past week following the election results, the #InfiniteInclusion flash mob sends a powerful and positive message celebrating difference and diversity. "Though we are all infinitely different, we can unite as one, and practicing inclusion brings infinite possibilities," says Marisa Hamamoto, Infinite Flow's Founder & Artistic Director. "Dancing is a powerful tool of breaking barriers and bringing diverse people together. Maybe I can get Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and President Obama to join us for another #InfiniteInclusion flash mob in the coming weeks."
Infinite Flow Founder & Artistic Director Marisa Hamamoto knows firsthand what it's like not to be able to walk. In 2006, Marisa suddenly became paralyzed from the neck down during a contemporary dance class. The following day, she was diagnosed with a rare spinal cord disease called spinal cord infarction, and was told by the doctor that she may never walk or dance again.
Today she is back on her feet and dancing professionally. Marisa founded Infinite Flow in March 2015 as a way of giving back her love for dance, with the vision of building a world-class dance company that incorporated dancers with and without disabilities. During this initial year of building Infinite Flow's programs, which includes the professional dance troupe, weekly adult wheelchair dance classes, Infinite Flow Kids, and other community outreach, Marisa realized Infinite Flow was more than a dance company, but also a vehicle for social change to mass-market inclusion. She named this movement #InfiniteInclusion and launched the project with the flash mob that took place on Nov 13.
Notable flash mob dancers with disabilities who joined in the project included actress with Down Syndrome Caley Versfelt (Star of A&E "Born this Way"), wheelchair personalities Mia Schaikewitz and Auti Angel (Stars of Sundance Channel "Push Girls"), professional wheelchair body builder Adelfo Cerame Jr., and deaf dance sensation Shaheem. Two special needs dogs: a wheelchair dog named Bubbles and a dog with a missing limb named Mumra joined in on the celebration as well.
The flashmob was directed by Founder Marisa Hamamoto, who also danced in it as well, and the video was shot and edited by Khang Le, a Senior Film student at USC University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts.
We ask that people who wish to support our mission follow us on social media, and make a tax-deductible donation at the Generosity crowdfunding campaign that launched on Oct 26: https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/create-infinite-possibilities-with-infinite-flow--2
All proceeds will be used towards Infinite Flow's community wheelchair dance classes, community outreach, professional dance troupe development, and other #InfiniteInclusion events and activities, leading a social movement to mass-market inclusion through dance and innovation.
About Infinite Flow - A Wheelchair Dance Company
Infinite Flow, based in Los Angeles and America's first professional wheelchair ballroom dance company, is a nonprofit organization founded in Los Angeles in March 2015 with the mission to lead a social movement to mass market inclusion through dance and innovation as a way to stand up for those who are tragically excluded from living up to their full potential as productive, creative individuals.
We are dedicated to
- Increasing access to quality dance instruction for people with disabilities in inclusive environments
- Building a world-class professional dance company, which includes dancers with and without disabilities as a vehicle to break stereotypes and perceived barriers
- Creatively leading a social movement for inclusion in performing arts as well as in everyday life
Since our beginning, we have performed at 40+ events, instructed 150+ wheelchair users through workshops, weekly dance classes, and community outreach, and have been recognized locally and nationally in media outlets such as NBC's Today Show, NowThis, Refinery29, GOOD Magazine, Mic, Broadway World, Dance Spirit Magazine, ABC Robin Roberts N'Courage Blog, LA Parent Magazine, ABC-7 News, Fox-11 News, and many MORE.
Founder & Artistic Director Marisa Hamamoto (Bio)
Marisa believes we all have a dancer inside of us and we all can make a difference in the world. Professional Ballroom & Salsa Dancer, Speaker, and the Brain behind Infinite Flow. After 20 years of dancing ballet and contemporary dance in both the US and Japan, Marisa started ballroom dancing while recovering from Spinal Cord Infarction, a severe neurological disease which laid her paralyzed from the neck down. She feels blessed to be back on the dance floor again, and is now dancing and teaching professionally full-time.
Marisa founded Infinite Flow in January 2015 as a way of giving back her love for dance, and it is her life mission to help find the dancer inside of each person. Marisa has been featured in various commercials, infomercials, and TV shows, and has performed at hundreds of shows, events, and private parties. Marisa earned both her BA and MA on merit scholarships from Keio University, the "Harvard" of Japan. While in college, Marisa linked her dancing with her academic studies, and researched and published papers in the fields of Dance Science and Dance Education and served on leadership for the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science for 3 years.
She was named Newcomer of the Year at the San Fernando Valley Business Journal Women in Business Awards in 2015. Marisa has volunteered 30+ hours weekly since January 2015 to get Infinite Flow off the ground. She is a leader and artist on the rise and has many great plans for the future of Infinite Flow. "Whether you have two left feet or two left wheels, we all have a dancer inside of us."
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SOURCE A Wheelchair Dance Company